Reflections on Kenyan PRSP process

12 December 2000

NGOs in Kenya are highly critical that the Poverty Reduction Strategy process did not fully involve NGOs, was dominated by the Bank and IMF and was not poverty focussed. A critical assessment by Irungu Houghton, Is there a difference between the PFP and PRSP in Kenya, highlights the speed of PRSP preparation as a major tension, “the pace of engagement reflected less the needs of various constituencies rather than a preoccupation with accessing budgetary support from the World Bank before the conclusion of the budget 2000/1.” This limited the extent of ownership, particularly as the “power of the World Bank and IMF in the negotiations is still pronounced.” National sovereignty is further undermined by “the perception of the PRSP as a product primarily for the World Bank and IMF” in order to resume lending.

Houghton also finds that “preoccupation with traditional macroeconomic and governance targets suffocates the strategy and reduces the anti-poverty content to an already discredited economic trickle down theory.” This prevents an entitlements approach to budgeting from emerging.

The costs of inadequate participation at the district and national levels is quantifiable in terms of the vast resources within the NGO, voluntary, religious and private sectors that will not be negotiated into the resource package. Houghton recommends to shift participation from the sole control of the Ministry of Finance and Planning to mechanisms and processes that facilitate the representation of multi-interests and shared control.

Also available is the NGO Working Group Memorandum on the Second Preliminary Draft of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 200-2003.

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